Harris presses Texas Democrats on reproductive, voting rights in Austin remarks
Vice President Harris urged Texas Democrats to “fight like we never have before” at a fundraiser on Saturday evening as she railed against Republican-led pushes to enact voting and abortion restrictions.
Speaking in Austin, Harris condemned a sweeping overhaul of Texas’s voting procedures last year signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that places new restrictions on drive-through voting and mail-in ballots, increases voter identification requirements and mandates the state check voter rolls monthly to identify non-citizens who improperly registered, among other provisions.
“There is a lot that we need to deal with,” Harris told supporters. “And I believe that when you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for. And while extremist so-called leaders trumpet the rhetoric of freedom, they attack the very foundations of freedom. And one of those people is the governor of this very state.”
The legislation came amid former President Trump’s pushing of unfounded claims of mass electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Republicans have touted the legislation as restoring integrity in the electoral process, but Democrats, including Harris on Saturday, portrayed it as one of many measures nationwide that disenfranchise voters.
“When your governor and other extremist so-called leaders were pushing S.B. 1, a full-on attack on voting rights, Democratic members of the Texas legislature left this state in principled protest,” Harris said. “And I’m sure they’re out campaigning right now, but I want to say that those legislators came to the White House because they knew — and if any of you are here, you knew — that this is not only a Texas fight, this was a national fight.”
The vice president also lambasted Abbott and other Republicans nationwide for enacting restrictions on abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“They believe government, not women, should make decisions about their own bodies,” Harris said. “Well, we do not. We do not. We trust the women of America. We trust the women of Texas.”
She also took aim at Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) proposal to ban abortion nationwide at 15 weeks, which has garnered some support from within his party, while drawing concerns from others who say the issue should be left to states.
Harris reiterated President Biden’s call to end the filibuster, the 60-vote threshold required for most legislation in the Senate, to allow for Democratic action on abortion and voting rights legislation.
“We will not allow archaic Senate rules to stand in the way — it’s called a filibuster — of protecting these two freedoms,” Harris said.
She said with two more Democratic seats in the Senate, the party can codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and pass voting rights legislation that previously failed, a veiled reference to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who have opposed filibuster carveouts.
Harris applauded the thousands of women who registered to vote in Texas since the court’s abortion decision, urging them to support the state’s Democratic nominee for governor, Beto O’Rourke, and other candidates hoping to flip House seats blue in November.
“So, in the next 31 days, Texas Democrats, let us fight like we never have before, because when we fight, we win,” Harris said.